“Thinking of Holland I see broad rivers languidly winding through endless fen, lines of incredibly tenuous poplars like giant plumes on the polder's rim”.
These lines of a famous poem by the Dutch poet Marsman characterise this wonderful bike and boat tour between Amsterdam and Maastricht (or reverse), the southernmost city in the Netherlands. The itinerary leads from the west, through the heart, and into the south of the Netherlands, sailing and cycling Dutch river landscapes, through medieval villages! You will experience the meandering river Maas (Meuse), a visit to perhaps the most beautiful gardens in Western Europe “Castle Gardens of Arcen” and visit Maastricht, the oldest and perhaps most charming city of Holland. A multi cultural city, Maastricht sits on both banks of the river. With its picturesque squares, romantic streets, and historical buildings, it is within walking distance of Belgium and cycling distance from Germany!
Aboard the Sarah Amsterdam to Maastricht: May 12, June 2, June 23, September 1, and September 15, 2018 Maastricht to Amsterdam: May 19, June 9, June 30, September 8, and September 22, 2018 Aboard the Elodie Maastricht to Amsterdam: July 22, 2018
Aboard the Sarah Amsterdam to Maastricht: June 8, June 22, July 6, August 17, August 31, and September 14, 2019 Maastricht to Amsterdam: June 15, June 29, July 13, August 24, and September 21, 2019
This is an easy guided bike and boat tour with daily distances of 28 miles. There is a continuous network of cycle paths, clearly signposted, well maintained and well lit, with road/cycle path junctions that often give priority to cyclists. Cycling in Holland is convenient, pleasant, and safe.
Where You’ll Stay
Aboard the Sarah, a comfort vessel or the Elodie, a comfort plus vessel.
7 nights accommodations
All meals, 7 x breakfast, 6 x packed lunch, 7 x three course dinner
Coffee and tea
Daily cabin cleaning service
11 speed hybrid bicycle with hand and pedal brakes, pannier bag, helmet and water bottle on the Sarah
Route information and maps, one set per cabin
Tour guide, provides daily briefings of tours, cycles the route each day, provides assistance for self guided cyclists
Entrance National Glass Museum in Leerdam
2019: fees for ferries
7 nights accommodations
Breakfast, packed lunch, and 6 dinners
Coffee and tea
Daily cleaning service
21 speed hybrid trekking bicycle with panniers, water bottle, and lock
Day 1: Amsterdam - Weesp, 9 mi. (15 km) Day 2: Weesp - Utrecht - Vianen, 29 mi. (47 km) Day 3: Vianen - Gorinchem, 26 mi. (41 km) | Gorinchem - Heusden Day 4: Heusden – Maasbommel | Maasbommel – Cuijck, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 5: Cuijck – Arcen, 29 mi. (48 km) Day 6: Arcen – Venlo – Roermond, 31 mi. (50 km) Day 7: Roermond – Born| Born – Maastricht, 25 mi. (42 km) Day 8: Maastricht
Daily distances range from 19 to 28 miles (30 - 45 km). All distances are approximate.
*The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.
Day 1: Amsterdam - Weesp The barges will be moored at the Oosterdok. Boarding will be complete by 2 pm, after which the barge will set sail to Weesp at 2:30 pm. Once fortified and now with a protected historical center, several of the bastions, moats, and forts still survive. Many canals and buildings date from the 17th and 18th century. Weesp has three full size historical windmills. With its quiet charm, small bridges, and picturesque canals, Weesp is the perfect first stop after Amsterdam.
Day 2: Weesp - Utrecht - Vianen, 29 mi. (47 km) Your bike tour starts in Weesp and you will cycle along the beautiful meandering river Vecht with impressive mansions on its banks. Along the way you will visit a real Dutch cheese farm, where cheese is still produced according to traditional methods. You will meet the barge in the city of Utrecht and from there you will sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 3: Vianen - Gorinchem, 26 mi. (41 km) | Gorinchem - Heusden Through a typical Dutch landscape, along the Merwedekanaal, the route leads to to Leerdam a little town on the banks of the river Linge. Leerdam is famous for its glasswork and there will be opportunity to visit a glass blower. Later you continue biking on the beautiful roads along the Linge to Gorinchem, a charming town on the river Waal. After a visit, you will join the barge to Heusden.
Day 4:Heusden – Maasbommel | Maasbommel – Cuijck, 24 mi. (40 km) During breakfast the ship sails from Heusden to Maasbommel, a village on the Maas river. Here your bike tour will start, leading you along the Maas river to cities such as Ravenstein and Grave. Both are medieval cities. In Ravenstein you can visit the Tanner’s Cottages and in Grave you will see canons from the time of Napoleon. Grave has also played an important role in Operation Market Garden during the second world war, because it was situated near an important bridge. This bridge is now called John S. Thompson Bridge. Following the Maas river you will meet the barge in Cuijk where you will spend the night. The St. Martins Church, a neo-gothic church houses very well kept baroc-organ (built 1639-1650). This organ is one of the oldest in the Netherlands.
Day 5:Cuijck – Arcen, 29 mi. (48 km) Today a magnificent bike tour is scheduled. You cycle along the Maas valley to Afferden and Heyen. The route continues through National Park Maasduinen to Well where you will find the Well castle with its heavy round brick tower dating from the 14th century. The destination for today is Arcen. Here you may visit the famous castle gardens with great variety; the Rosarium, with ten different rose gardens; the water- and sculpture garden; the Lommerijk, with shades, waterfalls and streamlets; the Valley, offering six 'international' gardens ; Casa Verde, offering Mediterranean and tropical gardens; the Golf garden,with a view at the largest waterfall in the Netherlands.
Day 6: Arcen – Venlo – Roermond, 30 mi. (50 km) Again your bike route follows the Maas river. Here and there you cross by ferry or bridge in order to follow the most interesting paths. The first stop is Venlo, with many historical monuments and a lively inner city. At lunchtime you arrive in Kessel, one of the oldest villages along the Meuse. There you cross over to the other bank and continue the bike ride to the beautiful village of Beesel, where the grain mill 'grey bear' stands proudly along the river. Today's tour ends in the city of Roermond, where of the river Roer and Maas come together. Roermond is known by its rich cultural heritage. Since 1559 it has been a bishop city. In the center you will find many historical buildings. Roermond is also the city of Pierre Cuypers, according to many the most important Dutch architect of the 19th century. He is the architect of the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam.
Day 7: Roermond – Born| Born – Maastricht, 25 mi. (42 km) Today, the cycling tour continues through charming villages and the beautiful landscape of the province of Limburg. First stop is Thorn, the ‘white Village’ on the Dutch/Belgian border known for its cobblestone streets and white painted houses. The only colored building is the 14th-century church. From Thorn you cycle across the Dutch / Belgian border to the Belgian city Maaseik. This city is famous for the painters Hubert and Jan van Eyck. On the market square you will see typical Renaissance-style houses with their impressive facades. You can also take the opportunity to have a nice Belgian "pint" on this beautiful square. You will find the ship in Born, from where you sail to Maastricht. Maastricht, the capital of the province is a beautifully preserved city with Roman roots. In this town you find the treasure house of the St. Servaas Church, the Bonnefanten museum for art and antiquity, and the Kazematten, a system of underground fortress works from the 18th century. In addition to these places of interest, it is also worthwhile visiting the marl caves, or just to thoroughly enjoy yourself on the Vrijthof. You will not get bored!
Day 8: Departure Disembarkation by 9:30 am.
Maastricht to Amsterdam on board the Sarah
Day 1: Maastricht, 6 mi. (10 km) Day 2: Maastricht – Born | Born – Roermond, 27 mi. (45 km) Day 3: Roermond – Venlo – Arcen, 31 mi. (50 km) Day 4: Arcen - Cuijk, 29 mi. (48 km) Day 5: Cuijk - Maasbommel | Maasbommel - Heusden, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 6: Heusden - Gorinchem | Gorinchem - Vianen, 29 mi. (40 km) Day 7: Vianen - Breukelen | Breukelen - Amsterdam, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 8: Amsterdam
Day 1: Maastricht In Maastricht the barge is moored at van Hasseltkade just north of the Wilhelmina bridge. After check in at 2 pm, there is time to explore the city of Maastricht, a beautifully preserved city with Roman roots. In this town you find the treasure house of the St. Servaas Church, the Bonnefanten museum for art and antiquity, and the Kazematten, a system of underground fortress works from the 18th century. In addition to these places of interest, it is also worthwhile visiting the marl caves, or just to thoroughly enjoy yourself on the Vrijthof. You will not get bored! After dinner you can test the bikes (approx 10 km/6 miles).
Day 2: Maastricht – Born | Born – Roermond, 27 mi. (45 km) During breakfast you join the barge to Born via the Juliana Canal, where you disembark at the locks. From here you bike over the Dutch/Belgian border into Belgium to Maaseik. This town is famous for the painters Hubert and Jan van Eyck. On the market square you see typical renaissance houses with their impressive facades. You can also use the opportunity to try a Belgian “pint” on this beautiful square. Then you continue to Thorn, the 'white Village' on the Dutch/Belgian border known for its cobblestone streets and white painted houses. The only building that is not white is the 14th-century church. Our destination for today is the city of Roermond, where of the river Roer and Maas come together. Roermond is known by it's rich cultural heritage. Since 1559 it has been a bishop city. In the center you will find many historical buildings. Roermond is also the city of Pierre Cuypers, according to many the most important Dutch architect of the 19th century. He is the architect of the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam.
Day 3: Roermond – Venlo – Arcen, 31 mi. (52 km) Today you start biking from Roermond. First you follow the river on the east bank to the beautiful village of Beesel,where the grain mill 'grey bear' stands proudly along the river. You cross over to the other bank to Kessel. Kessel is one of the oldest villages on the Meuse. At lunchtime you arrive in Venlo, with many historical moments and a lively inner city. In the afternoon you ride to Arcen, a former fortified town on the banks of the Meuse. There you can visit the beautiful castle gardens: the Rosarium, with ten different rose gardens; the water and sculpture garden; the Lommerrijk, with shadows, waterfalls and streams; the valley, with six international gardens; Casa Verde, with Mediterranean and tropical gardens; the golf garden, overlooking the largest waterfall in the Netherlands.
Day 4:Arcen - Cuijk, 29 mi. (48 km) Today a magnificent bike tour is on the program. First you will bike pass Well where you find the Well castle with its heavy round brick tower dating from the 14th century. You continue through the National Park Maasduinen close to the German border. Around lunchtime you arrive in Afferden. You will find the barge again in Cuijk, another interesting city on the banks of the Maas. The St. Martins Church, a neo-gothic church houses very well kept baroc-organ (built 1639-1650). This organ is one of the oldest in the Netherlands
Day 5: Cuijk - Maasbommel | Maasbommel - Heusden, 24 mi. (40 km) Today you bike from Cuijk along the Maas river to the cities Grave and Ravenstein. Both are medieval cities. In Grave you will see canons from the time of Napoleon. Grave has also played an important role in Operation Market Garden during the second world war, because it was situated near an important bridge. This bridge is now called John S. Thompson Bridge. From Maasbommel you will join the barge again on which you will have a nice sail to Heusden, a very beautifully restored fortified city.
Day 6: Heusden - Gorinchem | Gorinchem - Vianen, 25 mi. (41km) In the morning you will join the barge to Gorinchem, a charming town on the river Waal. From there you cycle through a typical Dutch landscape to Leerdam a little town on the banks of the river Linge. Leerdam is famous for its glasswork. A visit of the centuries- old crystal factory of Royal Leerdam is on the program. You can see a team of master glass blowers at work. In the afternoon you continue to Vianen, a small fortified town on the river Lek.
Day 7:Vianen - Breukelen | Breukelen - Amsterdam, 26 mi. (42 km) You will sail during breakfast. Today’s bike tour, that starts in Breukelen leads along the winding river Vecht to Amsterdam. In Loenen you will visit a mill. Final destination is Amsterdam, where you can take a tour through the canals or visit the Rijksmuseum or the van Gogh museum.
Day 8: Amsterdam End of tour. Disembarkation after breakfast, by 9:30 am.
Day 1: Maastricht, 9 mi. (16 km) Day 2: Maastricht - Born - Roermond, 24 mi. (40 km) Day 3: Roermond - Blerick/Venlo, 28 mi. (45 km) Day 4: Grave - Den Bosch, 19 or 34 mi. (32 or 56 km) Day 5: Den Bosch - Oud Heusden - Woudrichem, 27 mi. (45 km) Day 6: Woudrichem - Leerdam - Vianen, 21 mi. (35 km) Day 7: Vianen - Nigtevecht - Amsterdam, 10 or 25 mi. (15 or 40 km) Day 8: Amsterdam
On some day's a shorter tour is optional. This means that you possibly miss some of that day's highlight's. All distances mentioned are approximate. The daily itinerary is subject to change due to weather, road or water situations or other circumstances that might occur during the tour and where not foreseen at the moment of offering this tour.
Day 1: Maastricht, 9 mi. (16 km) The fantastic city of Maastricht is not something you can see in just one day. But it will be a great beginning to your trip! First thing on board, you will be introduced to the crew and enjoy a tour presentation. You can try out the bikes on a short tour to the picturesque village of Kanne. In the evening, you stroll ancient Maastricht, where you can still see much evidence of its Roman past. Small alleys and centuries-old houses abound, along with churches, chapels and monasteries, but there are modern designer shops as well, and vineyards and the “Hidden Caves of St. Pietersberg. Of historical significance is the highest plateau in the Netherlands, Mount Saint Peter and associated church, De Sint Pieter. Also, the renowned Bonefantenmuseum of modern art is a highlight and of course, great wines and cuisine. You will enjoy the magic of Maastricht.
Day 2: Maastricht - Born - Roermond, 24 mi. (40 km) You begin your morning on board the Elodie, navigating to Born, where the cycling begins. Today, you will enjoy many interesting stops. You have a coffee break in the Belgian town of Maaseyk, known for the brothers van Eyck, Jan and Hubert. “Adoration” is Jan van Eyck’s most famous painting which can be seen in Ghent. Then on to the fascinating white-washed village of Thorn. Once a tiny kingdom, Thorn began as an abbey in the 9th century, and was under female rule for 800 years. You also visit Maasbracht, known for its shipbuilding and the immense lock which boasts a rise of 11.85 meters. The Inland Waterway Museum has volunteers who were also skippers to tell the story of Maasbracht. You cross the Meuse then and cycle along puddles created by gravel extractions. If lucky, you may spot beavers busy with their dams and homes along the Meuse. Cycling along, you arrive then toRoermond, known for the renowned architect Pierre Cuypers, who designed many churches and monasteries throughout the Netherlands. He designed the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam. You can admire his work in the Cuypershuis, along with other exhibitions; explore the big role that textile and fashion design play in Roermond; or just sip a beer in the main square, the Munsterplein.
Day 3: Roermond - Blerick/Venlo, 28 mi. (45 km) This morning you remain on board while the Elodie navigates to Blerick/Venlo. At coffee time, you are free to explore the city of Venlo. Located cannonball distance from the German border, Venlo was in the line of fire during World War ll. Much of the heritage from its heyday did not survive. Allied bombardment occurred to secure the strategic bridge over the Meuse. However, many monuments do remain. After the war, the sought-after shopping city became like the Ruhr area, and is very German-oriented. After your visit here, you begin to cycle through land and horticultural area especially known for the cultivation of roses and blueberries. Asparagus is also a specialty. It may be possible, depending on the rose season, to visit the Rozenhof in Lottum, a village that produces 70% of Holland’s roses. The tour continues through the nature reserve de Maas Duinen where you may see cranes, or with some luck badgers. You will enjoy lunch in Arcen, a medieval trading village well known for its beautiful castle gardens, and the Duke-Jan Brewery, famous throughout the Netherlands. You will cycle through this village and beyond to the locks complex where Elodie spends the night. This impressive structure keeps the water level of the Meuse manageable.
Day 4: Grave - Den Bosch, 19 or 34 mi. (32 or 56 km) The Elodie sails in the morning to Grave, a beautiful village. From here, you pedal from village to village, more or less following the Meuse. There are large natural areas with Galloway cattle and sometimes wild horses. You will find a nice scenic place on the Maas for lunch and coffee. At the end the day, you find yourself in the Burgundian’s Hertogenbosch, also called the Den Bosch after the famous painter Jeroen Bosch. You can find out more about him in the Jheronimus Bosch Art Centre or lose yourself in this Burgundian city with it’s abundance of cafes and shops. Last but not least, don’t forget the impressive St. John’s Cathedral, which will be part of your after-dinner walk.
Day 5: Den Bosch - Oud Heusden - Woudrichem, 27 mi. (45 km) Today you follow large sections of the Meuse and the branches of this important river, the largest in the south of our country. The Meuse is 925 km. long. It starts in France, passes through Rotterdam, and empties into the North Sea. The Meuse is referred to as a “rain river” which means the state of the water is whimsical. You will see the important role that the ferries play in this region, showcasing once again how a country functions when it has more water than land. The ferries are served by local volunteers who may be farmers or former skippers who have a love of being on the water. For cyclists it means that you can cycle through the most beautiful natural areas, choosing the best side of the river. Youmay have a coffee break in old Heusden, one of the many beautiful, fortified towns on the route. The fortress structure remains clearly visible. You will have time to walk around have lunch. We finish our ride in the medieval fishing village of Wouldrichem.
Day 6: Woudrichem - Leerdam - Vianen, 21 mi. (35 km) You leave Woudrichem on the ferry and then cycle through the lovely old town of Gorinchem, along the river Linge, which leads to Leerdam. In Leerdam, after a coffee, you will have the opportunity to have a look at the old craft of glass blowing. Glass blowers are associated with the crystal factory. The Maas, with its endless dunes, provides plenty of sand used in the production of glass. After Leerdam, the route leads through farmland to Vianen, a small and charming village for the overnight.
Day 7: Vianen - Nigtevecht - Amsterdam, 10 or 25 mi. (15 or 40 km) You disembark the Elodie at either Utrecht or Nigtevecht for a route that follows the river Vecht, past wonderful country homes outside of Amsterdam. In the evening it will be a treat to discover an excellent restaurant in Amsterdam and have time to freely explore the canals and side streets of the city.
SarahBelgium, NetherlandsComfort Class BoatThe Sarah is a very comfortable and spacious ship. After years of use as a cargo ship, the Sarah was transformed into a passenger boat in 2002. It is a very modern ship with tasteful accommodations, a spacious air conditioned lounge/restaurant, and large and inviting sun deck. The corridor is air conditioned as well.
ElodieNetherlands, Belgium, FranceComfort Plus Class BoatThe Elodie was built in 1931 and has been completely refurbished into a luxury holiday ship. The ship has a saloon and sundeck and all of its cabins come with air-conditioning. The saloon of the Elodie is furnished in ship-style by using various types of wood in the finishing.
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